10 Women I Look Up To and Why

Share It

Part of my inspiration for In the Company of Women was sitting down to think about and show appreciation for the women who have provided me with motivation over the years. Some know what role they’ve played and some I’ve never met. But each and every one of them has been the spark, the inspiration, or the kick in the pants I needed to get through a tough time. In a world where we’re told to build our personal brands and stand out from the competition, I feel a stronger urge than ever to do the opposite: to lift up others, celebrate their greatness and voices, and to be happy to just stand amongst them — rather than aiming to be above.

I wanted to share 10 of the (many) women who have played that role for me. I’d love to hear who inspires you, too. If you have a moment, share the women who have inspired you in life and business in the comment section below, and why. xo, grace

  1. sunshine says:

    During my first read through I read “screaming females are my favorite” and missed the word band. I said to myself, “Hell yeah! Grace likes screaming females too!” So now I know there’s a band called Screaming Females and hell yeah, screaming females! Double bonus.

  2. christina says:

    gah what a great group of women…going to learn more about their diverse practices now. Thanks for the lead, Grace. As usual, your inspiration is a rippling thing. <3 C.

  3. Starr says:

    OMG! I love her! We have never met BUT Thelma Golden, you rock!

  4. Starr says:

    Cute shoes Christine.

  5. Sel says:

    My female heroines are the older members, all in their late 70s and early 80s, of my immediate family and extended family. These beautiful women have so much humility and wisdom because of their life experiences. They were born into poor, but loving, farming families in Croatia. They did not have much growing up. They were not able to finish secondary school as their parents could not afford to pay. They lived through the atrocities of the second World War. All of them witnessed death and destruction. Two of them were orphans as a result of the war. In their early 20s, they left (with their husbands) their homeland and support network in search of a better life in Australia. They arrived in a country where they could not speak, read nor understand the English language. At that time (late 50s/early 60s), no assistance was provided by the Australian government to immigrants. When they arrived, they lived in migrant camps. Their suitcases contained their only possessions. They did not understand the Australian culture and they were severed from their support network. Communication with loved ones overseas was by letter writing – no phones, no Skype. All of them missed hearing the voices of their loved ones. In Australia, they were made fun of and belittled because they were different. They worked in factories in labour intensive positions. The work was long, hard, dirty and tough. They were often taken advantage of by management and co-workers and placed to work in the hardest and dirtiest positions – they did not have a voice. They did not speak English and they were too afraid to speak up for themselves for fear of losing their jobs. Opportunities for work were limited when you had little education and were not fluent in English. All of them, however, had enormous love for their husbands and children and resilience. They did not let their difficult circumstances nor hate consume their hearts. They always focused on what they considered the greatest gift – family. I love all of them dearly and am grateful for all that they have done for and taught me. In spite of everything that they have lived through, they have not allowed the difficult things to harden their hearts nor hatred to reside. As they got older, they have always attempted to change things (at work, in their community) in a decent and respectful manner. Nothing gives me greater joy than when they are all together talking and laughing. I love listening to their stories, I love their humility and wisdom, and I love them.

  6. Kate says:

    Great list, love this!
    Do you have a reading list from this list of women? Either books they’ve written or fav books they recommend?

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      Some of these women have written books, if you do a quick google search you can find them, although they aren’t directly related to women in business or topics we discuss here normally. This list was intended as a reminder of just some of the amazing women that are a part of the creative community that I hoped people would check out (links provided) and then share some of their favs….


  7. Sel says:

    Hello Grace, you most likely are aware of this, but just in case you aren’t here goes. Your book “In The Company Of Women” has been recommended as a must read in the Australian Home Beautiful magazine (December 2016 edition, page 26). Congratulations and warm regards from an Aussie reader of your blog.


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.